19 November 2015

Above the parapet

BWB Texts, published by Bridget Williams Books, is a series of “short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers”, connecting readers with some of the country’s best short form books and long form journalism. Over 30 Texts are available.

In early November, Central City Library hosted three BWB Texts authors – Tracey Barnett, Shamubeel Eaqub, and Max Rashbrooke – in conversation with Bridget Williams Books publisher Tom Rennie. They talked about the connections between the ongoing debates on asylum issues, Auckland’s housing bubble and inequalities in New Zealand.

Hear the full event via our podcast. Click below to start listening, or search for “Auckland Libraries” in your favourite podcast app.

28 October 2015

Aucklanders book themselves in for sale

Book lovers on the hunt for a bargain flocked to Central Library in October, for their first book sale in nearly two years.

Central's Senior Librarian Jenny Cutting said she and her team were delighted with the enthusiastic response from customers, as the four day sale saw a flood of extra visitors coming through the library's doors.

"We were so pleased with the sale. Due to a number of factors, like refurbishment of our goods lift and public toilets, and the redevelopment of our children's area, we haven't been able to have a big book sale since November 2013," she said.

"We know this is a very popular event and it was great to see that despite the delay, Aucklanders came out in their droves to support us - and nab themselves some great reading material too."

Over 8,500 items were on offer over the four day period and included a mix of adult fiction, adult non-fiction, musical scores and CDs.

Ms Cutting said sale goods ranged in condition from “used to good or very good”, and each item had been checked for sale worthiness. They were all older or less popular items, had been replaced by updated material or were unneeded duplicates: their sale would make room for new stock to hit library shelves, she added. See Auckland Libraries' collection assessment policy for more information.

"There was nothing in the sale priced over two dollars, so it really was good value for people. We saw lots of customers leaving with heaving backpacks and bags full of books to take home and enjoy. It's great that these items can have a second life," she said.

All funds raised from the sale will be used for special projects at Central Library. The small amount of unsold material will be donated to a local charity, or the library may provide small "free" trolleys at the library in the coming months.

21 October 2015

Libraries' submissions help to lift Into the River restrictions

Auckland Libraries has welcomed The Film and Literature Classification Board of Review's decision to remove any age restrictions on Ted Dawe’s young adult novel Into the river.

An Interim Restriction Order, making it illegal to sell or distribute the novel in New Zealand, was placed on the book in September, after a complaint from the organisation Family First New Zealand. Prior to this, the award winning novel had been rated R14, also in response to a complaint from Family First.

General Manager, Libraries and Information Allison Dobbie submitted on behalf of Auckland Libraries to the Classification Board of Review in support of the book, on the basis that the work should be unrestricted. A supplementary submission, in response to comments made by Family First to Libraries' original submission, was also provided.

You can read the first full Auckland Libraries submission here, and the supplementary response here.

Auckland Libraries’ Manager, Regional Collections, Louise LaHatte said Libraries were pleased with the decision.

"We welcome the board’s decision to lift the restriction on Ted Dawe’s Into the river. We immediately began making copies available across our region’s network of libraries. We have a long list of requests, and customers who have been waiting will start to get notices advising they can pick it up from their local library.”

At the time of publication, there were 110 holds on Into the river.

6 October 2015

Into the River: in conversation with Ted Dawe

"Writers hold a mirror up to the world, and sometimes the world doesn't like what it sees. This is true in New Zealand. If 'Into The River' has made aspects of our society look ugly, then hiding the mirror will not make it beautiful again."  - Ted Dawe, September 2015


We were delighted to have award winning New Zealand author Ted Dawe share his thoughts on the controversy surrounding his young adult novel, "Into the River", at Central Library last week.

If you missed Ted in conversation with Auckland Libraries' Regional Collections Manager, Louise LaHatte, you can hear the full event via our podcast. Click below to start listening, or search for "Auckland Libraries" in your favourite podcast app.

28 September 2015

Into the River and Banned Books: a conversation with the Office of Film and Literature Classification

Libraries all over the world will be celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week at the end of September. This is especially topical in New Zealand right now, with the controversy surrounding Kiwi author Ted Dawe's award-winning young adult novel, Into the River.

We sat down with Michelle Baker, Acting Manager of the Information Unit at the Office of Film and Literature Classification, to find out more about Into the River and "banned books" in New Zealand.

Auckland Libraries: What’s the story with Into the River?

Classification Office: Into the River, published in 2012, was the winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Under New Zealand's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, books don't have to be classified before they are supplied to the public (in the way that films are). Instead, books are usually classified as a result of a submission from a member of the public, or enforcement action by Police, Customs, or the Department of Internal Affairs.

The organisation Family First made a complaint to the Department of Internal Affairs about the book, and as a result it was submitted to the Classification Office. It was classified using the criteria set out in the legislation, and was classified M (unrestricted, anyone can access it, but it’s more suitable for mature readers).

21 September 2015

25,000 Customers APPreciate Libraries app

With 25,000 downloads in the first six months, Auckland Libraries' customers are relishing the new app.

Auckland Libraries Digital Services Manager - Customer Interaction, Barbara Garriock, is pleased with the uptake, developed in response to strong customer demand.

"We are delighted the app has been so popular. We knew there was a growing expectation from customers that they should be able to access our services from a platform on their handheld devices - and according to our app provider, 69 per cent of library customers use mobile apps to access information. So we clearly needed to be in this space.

We also have  a commitment to make access to services and content as easy as possible for all customers.  Providing an app is part of that commitment," she said.

15 July 2015

The sweet sound of success at Central Library's music month storytime

A string quartet is more at home performing as part of Central City Library's Thursday Lunchtime concert series events than a children's storytime. But a bright idea from staff saw a regular Saturday programme turned into a celebration of song, story and dance for the central library's youngest customers.

Part of May's New Zealand Music Month festivities, the event was the brain child of Music Library Assistant Owen Gordon. Together with musicians Ainsley Murray, Kate Walshe and Ginny Hopkins who generously loaned their time and skills for free, the quartet incorporated music into every facet of the progamme, including the regular welcome song. They also provided special sound effects to stories The Toymaker and the Violin by Pamela Allen, and Willbee the Bumblebee by Craig Smith, The quartet particularly shone between stories with dance breaks, getting the whole audience on their feet.